U.K. stocks fell for a sixth day, the longest streak of losses in 16 months, as a European Central Bank deadline approached for Cyprus to win a 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout.
Mulberry Group Plc (MUL) plunged 16 percent after the luxury- handbag maker forecast full-year sales and profit will miss analyst estimates. Burberry Group Plc (BRBY), the U.K.’s biggest luxury-goods producer, slid 4 percent. BP Plc (BP/) rose 2 percent to a five-week high after saying it will buy back $8 billion of shares. Esure Group Plc advanced 6.3 percent on its first day of trading in London.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index (UKX) declined 9.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,379.42 at 8:48 a.m. in London. The gauge has retreated 1.7 percent this week, its biggest drop in four months, after euro area ministers proposed an unprecedented levy on Cyprus bank deposits to help pay for the island nation’s rescue package.
The broader FTSE All-Share Index lost 0.2 percent today. Ireland’s ISEQ Index dropped 0.5 percent after rallying to the highest level in 4 1/2 years this week.
Cypriot lawmakers will begin a debate today on legislation required to unlock bailout funds. The ECB has said it will cut emergency funds for the island’s banks after March 25 unless it agrees on a bailout with international creditors. Euro-area finance ministers expect a proposal from Cyprus “as rapidly as possible” to raise the 5.8 billion euros needed to trigger the emergency loans, they said in a statement late yesterday.
Cyprus will continue talks with Russia after it didn’t get the financial support it sought from the country, Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris said.
The race for a compromise comes after a week of tumult marked by Cypriot lawmakers’ rejection of a tax on bank deposits. That was demanded by the other 16 euro countries and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for the bailout.
German business confidence probably increased for a fifth straight month in March, economists forecast before a report from the Munich-based Ifo institute today. Its business climate index, which is based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 107.8 this month from 107.4 in February, according to the median estimate of 42 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. That would be the highest reading since April last year.
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